Good financial news is giving Tauranga City Council an improved stance as it prepares for the next round of negotiations with the New Zealand Transport Agency over Route K.
The council wants NZTA to take control of Route K and incorporate the toll road into the central Government funded state highways network.
Councillors held a confidential workshop on Tuesday to discuss the future options of Route K.
The city council is carrying $60million in debt on the road, plus its $10.9million share of the Pyes Pa bypass.
Since increasing the tolls on January 1 from $1 to $1.50 the economic forecasts have improved, both because of the increased income and greater traffic volumes.
“As a result of the increasing tolls and increased usage of the road we can now see our way clear to being able to pay off the entire debt,” says strategy and policy committee chairman David Stewart.
“I think we are looking at a very conservative estimate of about 2040.”
When he was asked if the more viable financial result would improve the council’s bargaining position, he replied; “you would think so, wouldn’t you.”
“You can draw that conclusion, I can’t really elaborate.
“We are just looking at our negotiations and where we stand. We need to keep that to ourselves until we know what we are doing, and what we want.
“As you can appreciate, if you are negotiating something you want to keep your cards close to your chest and do the deal.”